NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps has completed winter and water survival and centrifuge training in the US, Germany, Japan and Russia. CAVES is the latest on her list of her physically and mentally challenging astronaut-training.
The 48-year-old joined an undersea exploration for nine days during NEEMO in 2014, and traces similarities between the two missions.
“You have to work as a team with common goals, simulating what you do in space as a crew. We worked hard, but we also had a lot of fun,” she points out.
Jeanette finds the CAVES concept “unique and attractive.” For her, the goal is the exploration journey itself. “This type of expedition brings you a deeper understanding about yourself and your crew, and that is the exciting part for me,” she says.
Before joining NASA’s astronaut corps, Jeanette worked in a research lab to find ways to reduce the vibration in cars using novel materials. Her graduate research involved the application of shape memory alloy actuators for tracking helicopter rotor blades.
She later put her skills at the service of the US government as a research scientist and problem-solver. “I am very analytic. I think about things before jumping into them,” she says of herself.
Jeanette believes that CAVES is an excellent opportunity to make a bond as a group and across agencies and countries. “I am bringing special food to help build the comradery of the group,” she unveils.
Learn more about Jeanette in her biography.